Clearing the FBI.
Although I am quite tardy in putting the fact on the Cannonfire record, we should note that the Department of Justice has cleared the FBI of any wrongdoing in the killing of Ibragim Todashev, who was being questioned in his apartment about his links to the accused Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
The unnamed FBI agent was injured during the dispute. Additional information on the investigations of the incident are expected next week, though it isn't clear exactly how many details would be provided.
I suspect that details will be few and non-reassuring. The ACLU has called for an independent
investigation. Don't hold your breath.
The future is with BRICS.
I think this
speaks for itself...
While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the "Holy Grail" energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may refrain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasurys, and go straight to the source.
The underlying message from the head of Russia's biggest oil company, Rosneft, was clear: If Europe and the United States isolate Russia, Moscow will look East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances.
The Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West.
"The worse Russia's relations are with the West, the closer Russia will want to be to China. If China supports you, no one can say you're isolated," said Vasily Kashin, a China expert at the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) think thank.
Right now, the unrepentant Angletonians in the Tea Party (a breed of fanatic which is surprisingly non-rare) are no doubt gleefully shouting: "I knew
the Sino-Soviet split was a fake all along! I knew it I knew it IknewitIknewitIknewitIKNEWIT!
lesson is this: If America wants a new Cold War -- if we want to play the kind of destabilization games we played in Ukraine -- then there will be consequences
. We no longer have the strong hand we had decades ago. We simply cannot afford our previous arrogance.
Speaking of Ukraine:
Like it or not, Israel Shamir has one of the most accurate renditions of what went down
Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick victory. They watched when President Yanukovych escaped to Russia to save his skin. They watched when the Brown bands moved eastwards to threaten the Russian-speaking South East. They patiently listened while Mme Timoshenko, fresh out of gaol, swore to void treaties with Russia and to expel the Russian Black Sea Fleet from its main harbour in Sevastopol. They paid no heed when the new government appointed oligarchs to rule Eastern provinces. Nor did they react when children in Ukrainian schools were ordered to sing “Hang a Russian on a thick branch” and the oligarch-governor’s deputy promised to hang dissatisfied Russians of the East as soon as Crimea is pacified. While these fateful events unravelled, Putin kept silence.
But Putin justified the Russian proverb: the Russians take time to saddle their horses, but they ride awfully fast.
Check out this next bit...
The US Neocons’ role in the Kiev coup was clarified by two independent exposures. Wonderful Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek showed that the anti-Russian campaign of recent months (gay protests, Wahl affair, etc.) was organised by the Zionist Neocon PNAC (now renamed FPI) led by Mr Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria “Fuck EC” Nuland. It seems that the Neocons are hell-bent to undermine Russia by all means, while the Europeans are much more flexible. Wahl collapse.
Let's look at that important Blumenthal/Khalek piece
, which is primarily about the resignation of Liz Wahl, on the air on Russia Today. As readers will recall, I thought the story had a rather fishy reek -- especially since Wahl (if you examine her background) seems the kind of person who would never have gone near
a place like Russia Today -- unless she had an agenda, or unless she secretly worked for someone with an agenda.
And now we learn further details...
Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup. Desperate to revive the Cold War, head off further cuts to the defense budget and restore the legitimacy they lost in the ruins of Iraq, the tightknit group of neoconservative writers and stewards had opened up a new PR front through Wahl’s resignation. And they succeeded with no shortage of help from an ossified media establishment struggling to maintain credibility in an increasingly anarchic online news environment. With isolated skeptics branded as useful idiots for Putin, the scene has been kept clean of neoconservative fingerprints, obscuring their interest in Wahl’s resignation and the broader push to deepen tensions with Russia.
Through interviews with six current RT employees—all Americans with no particular affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin or his policies—and an investigation into the political forces managing the spectacle, a story has emerged that stands in stark contrast to the one advanced by Wahl, her supporters and the mainstream American press.
It is the story, according to former colleagues, of an apolitical, deeply disgruntled employee seeking an exit strategy from a job where, sources say, she was disciplined for unprofessional behavior and had been demoted. Wahl did not return several voice and text messages sent to her cellphone.
At the center of the intrigue is a young neoconservative writer and activist who helped craft Wahl’s strategy and exploit her resignation to propel the agenda of a powerful pro-war lobby in Washington.
There's a lot more. I suggest you hie thee hither and read the rest.
Israel Shamir also directs us to this piece
about the Ukrainian Mystery Snipers. It's an interview in Russian. Here's Shamir's summary:
The second exposé was an interview with Alexander Yakimenko, the head of Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU) who had escaped to Russia like his president. Yakimenko accused Andriy Parubiy, the present security czar, of making a deal with the Americans. On American instructions, he delivered weapons and brought snipers who killed some 70 persons within few hours. They killed the riot police and the protesters as well.
The US Neocon-led conspiracy in Kiev was aimed against the European attempt to reach a compromise with President Yanukovych, said the SBU chief. They almost agreed on all points, but Ms Nuland wanted to derail the agreement, and so she did – with the help of a few snipers.
These snipers were used again in Crimea: a sniper shot and killed a Ukrainian soldier. When the Crimean self-defence forces began their pursuit, the sniper shot at them, killed one and wounded one. It is the same pattern: snipers are used to provoke response and hopefully to jump-start a shootout.
Consider the source, of course; caution is warranted. Nevertheless, I would not dismiss this suggestion.
I wanted to give you a few chunks of this interview in English, via the miracle of Google Translate. But Google Translate, for some unfathomable reason, does not want to deal with this page.
Nate Silver says that the Republicans have the edge when it comes to control of the Senate. Horrifying news
. Liberal writers like Paul Krugman
are saying that Silver has lost the magic touch. In this case, I think Silver is right -- and that a lot of people have been scribbling some very premature obits for the GOP. The main problem, of course, is Obama. He has discredited liberal solutions, even though liberal solutions have never really been tried.